Delta and US Airways Stocks Fly Higher as Earnings Impress

US Airways Group Inc. (NYSE:LCC) posted lower net income in the fourth quarter compared with a year-earlier period. Net income for US Airways Group Inc. fell to $18 million (11 cents per share) vs. $28 million (17 cents per share) a year earlier. This is a decline of 35.7% from the year earlier quarter. Revenue rose 8.5% to $3.15 billion from the year earlier quarter. LCC reported adjusted net income of 13 cents per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of one cent per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $3.14 billion.

US Airways Group, Inc. Chairman and CEO Doug Parker stated, “We are very pleased to report a profit for both the fourth quarter and full year of 2011, particularly given the extraordinarily high cost of jet fuel. Strong demand for our product and outstanding operations performance by the US Airways team resulted in numerous records set by our airline. Passenger revenue, total revenue, and passenger revenue per available seat mile all set new Company records for both the fourth quarter and the full year. We also had our best fourth quarter ever in terms of operating reliability, including our best on-time performance, highest completion factor and lowest mishandled baggage ratio.”

Competitors to Watch: Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL), AMR Corporation (NYSE:AMR), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV), JetBlue Airways Corp. (NASDAQ:JBLU), Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE:ALK), United Continental Hldgs., Inc. (NYSE:UAL), Republic Airways Hldgs. Inc. (NASDAQ:RJET), AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI), Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA), and Pinnacle Airlines Corp. (NASDAQ:PNCL).

Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE:DAL) reported net income above Wall Street’s expectations for the fourth quarter. Net income for Delta Air Lines Inc. rose to $425 million (50 cents per share) vs. $19 million (2 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a substantial increase from the year earlier quarter. Revenue Rose 7.8% to $8.4 billion from the year earlier quarter. DAL reported adjusted net income of 45 cents per share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of 37 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $8.31 billion.

“Delta people pulled together in 2011 to produce a solid profit, strong cash generation, and the best operational performance in the industry for our customers. I want to thank them for their hard work through a challenging year and congratulate them on earning $264 million in profit sharing and $60 million in Shared Rewards for their exceptional performance,” said Richard Anderson, Delta’s chief executive officer. “Looking forward to 2012, we will continue our commitment to sustained profitability and superior returns by growing and diversifying our revenues, while taking a disciplined approach to capacity, costs and capital spending.”

Competitors to Watch: AMR Corporation (NYSE:AMR), United Continental Hldgs., Inc. (NYSE:UAL), Alaska Air Group, Inc. (NYSE:ALK), US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE:LCC), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV), JetBlue Airways Corp. (NASDAQ:JBLU), AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI), Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:HA) and SkyWest, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKYW).

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com